The true American spirit has been and is about achieving the impossible through exploration, scientific research, innovation and creativity. From the earliest migrations across the Bering Strait to the successful landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars, America continues to remarkably inspire the dreamers, the courageous, the adventurers and the resolute to reach farther, to build greater and to strive to make America that more perfect Union.
With that spirit in mind, we propose that Columbus Day be rededicated as Exploration Day.
When Neil Armstrong passed away, President Obama said, "Neil was among the greatest of American heroes -- not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crewmembers lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable -- that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten."
Essentially, the vast majority of Americans, regardless of background or political orientation, should celebrate federal holidays. Columbus Day no longer fits the litmus test of credibility and relevance for many people. Re-dedicating Columbus Day as Exploration Day will allow those who wish to commemorate his accomplishments to continue doing so. But for those who find Columbus's role in history disquieting, it will enable them to celebrate the day in a very different way. Exploration Day covers the depth and breath of America’s rich history of exploration, research and discovery. Thus, Exploration Day will be something that unites rather than divides.
Exploration is a broad topic, but the exploratory spirit is not. It's a human characteristic that drives adventure, and progress while satisfying the insatiable need to know what's over the next horizon. Exploration Day is a day to celebrate where we've been, but more importantly, where we could go if we all put our minds and efforts together for a common goal. It's both a celebration of our past as well as our future.
“Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.” John F. Kennedy